So, it was a relief to meet Paul Smith. His life and work are an authentic testimony to the fact that one can come into an abiding sense of divine union in this lifetime.
It was an autumn afternoon at Vassar College. I had stayed up the previous night writing a paper. I turned the paper in at an office across campus and began walking back to my dorm room, eager to rest. Soon, it would be nightfall. The cold wind blew across my face. Leaves fell along my path. Gothic architecture merged into the shadows. Tombstones in the nearby cemetery reflected the last vestiges of sunlight.
Going into deeper states can reach a point, and usually many points, where our own "mental picture" of God starts to seem as if it is in need of a new architecture. In fact, this is central to the journey of contemplation, for we are traveling through spaces within God and through God, and yet, as the old saying goes, it often appears that we live "without God" too. One of the gifts of the contemplative journey is the increased presence of the indwelling Spirit in our daily lives.
The Jesus Prayer has long served mystics as a one-ticket route to Divine Union on The Christian Mystical Path. However, the territory one travels in consistent, disciplined use of the prayer can seem vague and nebulous at times, even when God's brilliant Light is shining the fiercest. It helps my own journey tremendously to make use of the hidden maps and patterns that Ken Wilber, Carl Jung, and other great minds have described for us in their work.